Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Climate Change August 07, 2013 - 4:07 pm

Arctic mussels affected by change in temperature, ice: study

Habitat of blue mussels “particularly sensitive to changes in air temperature and ice extension"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
New research from Greenland shows climate change is affecting blue mussels. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
New research from Greenland shows climate change is affecting blue mussels. (HANDOUT PHOTO)

If you want to know whether the climate is changing or not, you can take a look at mussels in the Arctic.

That’s the message from researchers at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and Aarhus University.

The scientists, Martin E. Bilcher and Mikael K. Sejr of Aarhus and Signe Høgslund of GINR, recently published a study about blue mussels along the coast of Greenland, in the scientific journal Marine Ecology-Progress SeriesJuly 30.

What the scientists came up with is that the places where blue mussels thrive in are “particularly sensitive to changes in air temperature and ice extension” — and this is killing older mussels and pushing the mussels to other locations.

Most of the mussels they found were young and “abundance was very patchy.”

In Nuuk’s fiord they suggest changes in temperatures and ice are “limiting the mussel survival and displacing them to habitats with very different growth conditions” because there are no natural predators.

Most of the mussels were concentrated around crevices, boulders and seaweed beds — which provide protection from climate extremes in the short term, but “also provide variable growth conditions,” the researchers noted.

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